Monday, April 30, 2018


the things i don’t tell
you could fill a room
with questions
but they don’t.
instead our house is
filled with silence
as i waste my time
playing video games,
watching television,
reading poetry,
feeling guilty
about not making art—
hoping to find my voice

the things i don’t tell
you haunt our nights
as we fall asleep
to the sound of our breathing,
the crumple of sheets
as we turn our bodies
over and over

sometimes facing each other
sometimes side by side
sometimes quietly embraced.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


they came looking for roots
tendril of family names
branching out into the striated past

constant rhizomatic search
you dig and
        you dig and you
dig deep into the bone of history

the spade glances off something hard
and resolute, all that force returns
to the unsteadied hand
you scrape away the top layer of dirt
and what is revealed is everything
you did not know

the past is a hidden country,
let’s say, the past hides
facts about our families:
this one married their niece,
that one abandoned their post,
this one was an angry drunk,
that one spent the family fortune,
this one died by lightning,
that one drowned in the river
under mysterious circumstances.

all of them had reasons
too complicated to write down—
the answers buried deeper
than you dare to dig.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

and so the question

and so the question:

is there any way

you could let me know

when the moment is right

and you no longer so broken?

Friday, April 27, 2018


i wanted to tell you
you played beautifully
tonight. as we gathered
in the living room
with friends and family.
we sang the old songs
with smiles and with tears
all our voices blended—
a deep sounding

we find the edges
of tradition, where
yesterday and the moment
meet. no need
to put it on the page

just let it find a home
in voices as they rejoice
in the stories of all of us,
the shared adventures of failure
and triumph, the ways we left
the motherland
an echo in every word.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

the old songs

recovering the songs
is never easy

one generation
stops listening

one generation
stops singing

the words are emptied
and full of noise

they become a jumble
of vowels

a string of consonants—
nonsensical rhymes

is it possible to know
what the song is about

when we have no idea
what the words mean

find someone
who knows the old songs

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


there’s always pressure
determine direction

find a quiet place
perhaps a garden

perhaps a valley
with soft edges

where you can face decision
wait for answers

for questions without answers
squeezing the blood

ready yourself

with what will you brace?
where did this start?

all this weight
might be a treasure

there is only so much
time to spend

carrying our little regrets

eyes diseased
you must wait rightly

fix your gaze
wade into the river

face the current
whether it pulls or pushes

follow it home
or let it bear you away

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


how fiercely we
protect ourselves.

we build walls

to keep pain

out and end

with only walls.

we were hurt

by love or

maybe “love.”

or were we?

maybe we simply

abandoned the field

of play, or battle.

i heard someone

once say that

love conquers all.

i try to believe

that. sometimes

i do. sometimes

i believe

the stories.

where love

has a name,

and it finds me,

finds a home

in my mouth.


there is insistent


will you rise
or remain hidden.

Monday, April 23, 2018


you’re always
taking sides

your words

or rather
they lack

moved by wind

first one way
then another

you play
the middle

edges blur


or rather
a fog of opinions

wall full
of holes

bleeds through

you find
crooked paths


by weeds

the garden
edged with flowers

that may
be useful

to offset

small things

every small

one way
or another

Sunday, April 22, 2018


what a fragile and glorious thing
is family. so full of drama
and regret. ripe for hope.
we find so many ways to hurt
one another. through commission
or omission. you know how
we behave so monstrously.
and yet, there are moments of grace
where somehow none of that matters
or not at that moment. when
love is not just words
but releases itself in action,
pushing into our fear
and past all those years
of using words as weapons
or silence as leverage.
let family be a gift then,
and not a weight.
a basket, and not a net.
a joy, and not a burden.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


the soft still voice
is so soft and still now

i wish it were not so
that i might be attuned

relearn how to attend
return to the source

where the song is birthed
where conversation begins

where i ask you questions
when you give me answers

Friday, April 20, 2018


rhythm of the line plumbing against the measured response of belly and ache hiss along the spine when they find us in the throes of space edges towards the infinite proliferation of maybe

smell of power and this the gift of what may be or may not be a promise to hold the memory of you in the passing of flowers fading into the story of how everything becomes new again

drip drip drip of something wet stirred by the fantasy of possessing or surrender of choice cuts of me at the border of home and hearth fire instruments prodding the flesh of the past and where are you now?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

the way things get done


hands dirtied in pockets of time.


uses and abuses and we all have secrets.


find me another way of possible.


there is so much work to be done.


this is the way to get things done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

bodies in motion

and then there is that moment
when i find myself moving beyond words
and imbedded in the smell of your skin

this is where i make the stories grow
as our breathing fills the room
and we are buried under this glorious sky

there is always the unexpected
joy of repetition as we return to this moment
wrapping our bodies around it with grace

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


there’s something about your name.
i wish i could say
it is always on my lips.
it is not.

it requires attention
to fix my thoughts on you.

a reminder of all that is good.
rehearsing the story
only gets me so far

searching for the edges
the threat of the sacred.

Monday, April 16, 2018

this is a sword

this is a sword
it has two edges
they are equally sharp

this is a symbol
a metaphor
for words

words need a home
a sheath of some sort
perhaps a body

we can share a bed
keep the lights on
lose ourselves

there are wounds
there are scars
we can share dreams

hope is an anchor
that too is a metaphor
let it be a home

fear is a sword
where is it buried
close that door

Sunday, April 15, 2018


I wish it could always be like this.
Good food and conversations
about art, deep and honest questions
exploring meaning and
the artist’s responsibility.
Passion and laughter fill the room
as we share the afternoon.

As it bleeds into evening
I only wish we could speak more
about all these things, more often,
openly. Engaging the ideas
that shape the world, that
challenge us to change, to begin
a different conversation again and again.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


The morning brings its weight
as I sit and sip my coffee, and
butter my ontbijtkoek.
There’s still snow on the ground

and it’s mid-April.
No sign of tulips
or crocuses, only
patches of yellowed grass.

My wife joins me
in the silence of the house
for her quiet time--
books piled next to her,

tea hot and steeping.
My children sleep still
or are quietly reading.
This is a season change

the earth tilted 23.5 degrees
on its vertical axis,
northern hemisphere
tilted towards the sun

bathed in light.
I can only sit and wait--
describe the day,
break it into pieces.

Friday, April 13, 2018

the wood

i was trying to find the way
but at every turn i found
gates, chains, locks, walls.
even the windows shuttered.
my maps were useless,
friends’ directions insufficient,
sources of light sputtering.
it’s not because of storms
or wind or rain or other
atmospheric effects.
let me claim it was a spell,
some darkness named
and given free reign.
the way we plant a wood
out of abandoned hopes,
how we build a home out of pain.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


this is my membership
it entitles me to nothing
it is only a membership
a way to prove i belong
to a profession
it required only my name
and a job description
(and a small annual fee)

every year they remind me
you belong to a profession
they mention me by name
i reintroduce myself
describe what i do
where and for whom

very little usually changes
not even the annual fee
the sticker with the year
the only thing that changes
my name stays the same
the proof they require
they believe everything i say